Since the beginning of March 2020, COVID-19 has been affecting the lives of millions. 13.1 million people have been affected in India alone. With millions of people getting COVID-19, cancer patients and those in recovery are one of the worst affected groups by the immunodeficiency virus.
While the fear of COVID-19 was multiplying, the scientists worked tirelessly and developed vaccination or immunization against the virus.
COVID-19 Vaccine and Cancer Patients
People with cancer fall in the priority group of people with certain high-risk medical conditions.
Experts and medical groups recommend that people suffering from dangerous diseases such as cancer should get the vaccine, as soon as it is available to them. But, when it comes to the effectiveness of the vaccine, people with weakened immune systems might be on the shorter end of the stick.
There is no solid research on the effectiveness of the vaccine on cancer patients, or patients who have gone through chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant, or immunotherapy. Before getting vaccinated, always consult a cancer specialist.
Even with the lack of research and trials, experts suggest that getting vaccinated is a better option than not getting vaccinated at all. It is better to be partially immune to the virus than not have any immunity at all against the virus. Experts recommend that most cancer patients should get vaccinated as they are already immune-deficient making them vulnerable to the virus.
COVID vaccine and hematological cancer
Vaccine against COVID-19 has two doses. Research suggests that the first dose has 13% efficacy on hematological cancer patients while 39% efficacy on solid cancer patients.
According to this research, for all hematological patients, the second dose of the vaccine on the 21st day is crucial. The second dose of vaccine develops antibodies against the virus for hematological cancer patients.
COVID-19 vaccine and breast cancer
COVID-19 vaccine may have side effects which include pain, redness, fever, chills, and nausea. For some people, the side effects can also include swelling of the lymph nodes under the injection site. As swollen lymph nodes are a sign of breast cancer, it is best to visit a doctor if it lasts for more than a week or two.
For people who have breast cancer or have a history of breast cancer, it is suitable to get injected on the other side of the cancer-affected area. In case, recoverers were affected by cancer in both the breasts, please consult your oncologist before getting vaccinated.
Everyone has a different response to the vaccine. So, it’s best for cancer patients to consult their oncologist before and after getting vaccinated for the best results.
Dr. S.K Gupta, the founder of Hematology BMT Institute International, is an oncologist and hematologist with 15 years of experience. He is among the best oncologists in India with experience in crucial cases of cancer and rare diseases. In case of queries regarding cancer and COVID-19 vaccine, you can consult him at Hematology BMT Institute International, Hyderabad, or Email: drguptahematologycare @gmail.com